Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘physical sciences retractions’ Category

A physics journal agreed to retract a paper several months ago. It’s still not retracted.

without comments

A physics journal says it has planned for several months to retract a 2006 paper by a prominent researcher with multiple retractions, after a concerned reader notified the editor about extensive duplication.

But, more than seven months after receiving the complaint, the journal Thin Solid Films has not yet taken action.

So what’s taking so long?

According to the editor, Joseph Greene, the delay occurred because “the publication team missed the request.”

Duplication allegations have followed the paper’s corresponding author Naba K. Sahoo for the past few years. Sahoo, a top physicist in India, has already had seven papers retracted for duplication—five earlier this year (1, 2), and two last year.

Although we did not hear back from the journal or the publisher, Elsevier, forwarded email correspondence provide insights about the Thin Solid Films paper. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Victoria Stern

November 16th, 2017 at 8:00 am

Caught Our Notice: 4th retraction for prominent physicist (with new funding) cites falsification

with 2 comments

Via Wikimedia

Title: Improved Cellular Specificity of Plasmonic Nanobubbles versus Nanoparticles in Heterogeneous Cell Systems

What Caught Our Attention: Nanotechnology researcher Dmitri Lapotko, whose work with lasers continues to catch media attention, has earned his fourth retraction.  As with the other three, the latest notice mentions an investigation at Rice University, but provides no specific information other than “data falsification” for images, and no indication as to the offending researcher(s). (In the past, Rice hasn’t even confirmed to us the presence of an investigation.) Only Laptoko and Ekaterina Lukianova-Hleb are common authors to all retractions. Despite these recent setbacks, Lapotko has not fared too badly in research funding.  Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison Abritis

November 6th, 2017 at 8:00 am

Author loses five recent papers for copying multiple figures, unspecified “overlap”

with one comment

Two journals have retracted five recent papers by a researcher in Saudi Arabia after discovering extensive overlap, which one journal called plagiarism.

In one retracted paper, all schemes and figures are copies from other publications; in another, more than half of the figures are lifted. The journal that retracted the other three papers did not provide details about the nature of the overlap.

All five retracted papers—originally published within the last 15 months—have the same corresponding author: Soliman Mahmoud Soliman Abdalla, a professor of physics at King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

According to a spokesperson for Polymers, readers flagged two papers in July 2017; both were retracted in August.

The spokesperson for Polymers told us that the journal ran the papers through the plagiarism detection software, iThenticate, but found “no significant levels of copied text.” The journal says it missed the overlap because:

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Victoria Stern

November 2nd, 2017 at 8:50 am

Florida researcher “cherry picked” data, university investigation finds

with 9 comments

Credit: University of Florida

A journal has retracted a 2014 paper after a university investigation found that the first author only reported certain data points that supported the paper’s conclusion.

Based on a whistleblower’s tip, the University of Florida investigated work by Huabei Jiang, a professor of biomedical engineering, and Lei Yao, a former postdoc and scientist in Jiang’s lab, for research misconduct. According to documents obtained by Retraction Watch through a  public records request, in 2015 Yao confessed to selectively choosing data in an email to the whistleblower. Read the rest of this entry »

After journal retracts their paper, authors post rebuttal on arXiv

with 9 comments

In July 2017, just days after accepting and publishing a paper, a physics journal discovered several scientific errors” and decided to retract it.

But the authorsAlexander Kholmetskii and Tolga Yarman—strongly objected to the journal’s decision, so much so they published a detailed rebuttal to the retraction on the preprint server arXiv.

The paper explores a new principle related to Einstein’s theory of relativity. According to the authors, after the Canadian Journal of Physics notified them on July 17 about the decision to retract the paper, they asked the editor to publish their objection “to defend our sound point of view, and beyond this, our scientific reputation.” But Kholmetskiiwho lists his affiliation at Belarus State University in Minsk, and Yarman, a professor at Okan University in Istanbul—told us that the editor found their response “inappropriate.” As a result, the authors turned to aiXiv to protest the retraction.

Here’s the retraction notice for “Conservative relativity principle and energy-momentum conservation in a superimposed gravitational and electric field:” Read the rest of this entry »

Researcher apologizes for ignoring early warnings about earthquake data

without comments

In 2016, three researchers published data they had collected on a series of devastating earthquakes that hit Japan earlier that year.

But, in late September 2017, one of the authors—Hiroyuki Goto—revealed that the Kumamoto Earthquake data contained “wide reaching errors”—and an outside expert had warned him the data might be problematic nine months earlier.  

Goto, an associate professor in the Disaster Prevention Research Institute at Kyoto University, issued two statements in which he acknowledged the errors, but did not indicate how they occurred. According to The Japan Times, Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology is investigating whether the data “was falsified or fabricated due to inconsistencies with other readings taken nearby.” A report in another Japanese paper, The Mainichi, notes that Osaka University—where one of the authors, Yoshiya Hata, works—is looking into the matter as well.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Victoria Stern

October 18th, 2017 at 8:52 am

21 faculty at Johns Hopkins threaten to resign from board if journal doesn’t retract paper

with 19 comments

More than 20 faculty members at Johns Hopkins University have signed a letter to Scientific Reports saying they will resign from the editorial board if the journal doesn’t retract a 2016 paper.

The paper is problematic, they argue, because a biologist at Johns Hopkins claims it plagiarized his work. One of that biologist’s colleagues at Hopkins has already resigned from the journal’s editorial board over its decision to correct (and not retract) the paper; last week, another 21 people told the journal they’d do the same.

The letter to the journal also includes a side-by-side comparison between the 2016 paper and the work it allegedly plagiarized. The board members note:

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison McCook

October 17th, 2017 at 11:22 am

“The results are essentially meaningless:” Typos, missing variables found throughout physics paper

with 4 comments

A physics journal has retracted a 2014 paper after a reader discovered a slew of errors.

The paper, published in the Journal of Thermophysics and Heat Transfer, explored how the properties of nanofluidsfluids that contain nanoparticles—change as the fluid moves through different materials.  

According to the editor-in-chief, Greg Naterer, an outside expertAsterios Pantokratoras, based at Democritus University of Thrace in Greececontacted the journal in May 2017 after discovering “errors with symbols in equations and figures.” The journal investigated the concerns and reached out to the paper’s corresponding author V. Ramachandra Prasad at Madanapalle Institute of Technology and Science in India for a response; after several rounds of comments from Pantokratoras and Prasad, the journal concluded that the paper should be retracted.

Naterer explained: Read the rest of this entry »

Board member resigns from journal over handling of paper accused of plagiarism

with 12 comments

A biologist is crying foul at a journal’s decision to correct (and not retract) a paper he claims plagiarized his work — and one of his colleagues has resigned from the journal’s editorial board as a result.

The 2016 paper, published by Scientific Reports, is an application of a previously published algorithm designed to better identify regulatory sequences in DNA. The three authors, based at the Shenzhen campus of the Harbin Institute of Technology, used the technique to identify recombination spots in DNA. They called it SVM-gkm.

On April 2, Michael Beer of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore notified the editors of Scientific Reports that he believed the paper had plagiarized his work. Despite Beer’s efforts, the journal ultimately decided to issue a correction notice, which cites “errors” and the authors’ failure to credit Beer’s work. That isn’t good enough for Beer — nor one of his colleagues at Johns Hopkins, who resigned from the journal’s editorial board saying “the recent affair with Mike Beer’s work being plagiarized did not impress me.

Read the rest of this entry »

Researcher discovers paper published by co-author in another journal

without comments

In February 2016, Albert Jambon received some puzzling news.

Several colleagues had alerted him to a paper, published online in late December 2015 in the Journal of African Earth Sciences (JAES), reporting the discovery of a rare mineral, which Jambon had been analyzing.

When Jambon read the paper, he realized it was a modified version of a paper he had been working on for almost eight years. Impatient, one of his co-authors, Ahmad Bilal, had published his own version of the manuscript and listed himself as the sole author.

Jambon, a professor at Pierre and Marie Curie University, believes that Bilal’s paper plagiarized his manuscript, but Bilal disputes this allegation. Bilal–who works at Damascus University in Syria–says he couldn’t wait any longer to publish the manuscript, so wrote “a completely new version.” Since the authors couldn’t resolve the authorship dispute, in August 2016, the journal issued a “temporary” expression of concern, alerting readers to the authorship concerns. Now, a year and a half later, a spokesperson for the publisher says it’s going to be retracted.

Eight years is a long time to work on a paper.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Victoria Stern

September 25th, 2017 at 11:05 am